In Selfie Queens, Bangalore-based sculptor Siri Devi Khandavilli employs traditional Indian modeling and metal-casting methods to create a series of contemporary idols worshipping at the altars of self, social media, and consumerism. Voguing coquettishly for their camera-phones, Khandavilli’s ornate goddess figures look just like traditional Hindu temple idols. These queens are glamorous, irreverent, and unblinking, attached to a history of stories and spirituality and a present moment of self-regard and consumption-as-beauty.
Medium: Bronze and glass
My 2017 series, Mirror Inkblots is the culmination of my fascination with the materiality of mirrors as well as the ambiguity of perception and the elusive moment of realisation, when the self is reflected upon a surface. My Mirror Inkblots consist of Padma peetas that house golden mirrors etched with Rorschach-like inkblot patterns. I am interested in mirrors not only as a medium, but also as a material and an object with metaphysical connotations. Can the mirror framed within a Padma peeta be a facilitator for darshan?
Push Comes to Shove
Medium: Fiberglass, Plexiglass, Metal, Glass Bangles
This installation has thousands of traditional Indian glass bangles strung together and 101 frames containing broken plexiglass – a metaphor for shattering the proverbial glass ceiling. Khandavilli is interested in the sensuous nature of Indian religious architecture and its references to the female body and flowers, especially in the roofs of temples. This reference can be clearly seen in her brightly colored hanging frames.
Not in Anyone's Name
The above works are inspired by the #NotInMyName hashtag that began trending on social media during recent violent religious acts around the world. The message of this hashtag is to speak out against misrepresentation and stereotypes in religion as well as to point out the irony of wars waged in “The Name of God”.
I was at a museum in Florence, Italy. It was filled with artworks I had studied in Art history. I must have been looking at the works for 4 hours or so. After sometime I began to feel weary. It was not the walking and the amount of information that my brain had to digest all at once. I had a strong desire to see my self. I wanted a mirror.
This led me to think that I should make a series of mirrors. At least people would get a chance to look at themselves when they see my show!
In my earlier sculptural works I have used “Padma Peeta” (the lotus seat) a common base for idols of worship in Indian Iconography. The same pattern of “Padmapeeta” is recurring in my works. I see this as a iconographical tool to place the Important, Deified objects and the Absolutes and so on… a pedestal or frame for something that should be brought to notice.
In these mirrors it becomes a way of representing the divinity in everything and everyone seen in the reflection.
At first glance, you could mistake them for “the real thing:” bronze idols of Hindu female deities. The poodle identity places the work outside the tradition, creating tension that forms the work’s edge.
The artist’s intentions are materialized by her canny use of traditional forms modified to her own ends--- to comment on the world of now, a present that with increasing intensity is happening both in the U.S. and India. And they are reflections on her own nature.